Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Wise After The Event as the BBC Finally Cash In

1995 Article

Eric and Ern
Foreigners aren't supposed to be able to see the funny side of Morecambe and Wise.

The shows have always been thought too incurably British for overseas sales appeal.

So a BBC sales team were startled to find foreign TV buyers at their annual Showcase Festival falling off their chairs with mirth of the antics of the late Eric Morecambe and sidekick Ernie Wise.

And even more startled when the foreigners got out their cheque books to snap up the old shows.

Buyers from countries including Holland, Scandinavia and east European states have spent more than £30,000 for the right to show 50 editions of Morecambe and Wise.

The show, from 1969 to 1977, feature such guest stars as Glenda Jackson, Angela Rippon, Elton John and Diana Rigg.

"Eric and Ernie are selling like hot cakes," a BBC source said.

"In the past, the humour was thought to be peculiarly British. But we've discovered this week that foreigners love them."


A record £18.5 million worth of BBC programmes have been sold at the Brighton festival.

The BBC1 costume drama, The Buccaneers – a tale of American beauties snapping up aristocratic Victorian husbands – is expected to bring in £7 million over the next 18 months.

“It will be the top-selling drama we've made”, a BBC Enterprises spokesman said.

"And what we have in the archives is pure gold."

Even that £10 million monster flop Eldorado has found buyers overseas.

The sun-and-sex series, set in Spain and already shown in Sweden, New Zealand and Mauritius, will reach Russia later this year.

© Today Newspaper 1995

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